Only a season away from winning 60+ games, and just two from an NBA Finals berth, the Phoenix Suns find themselves in a place of unexpected adversity. Amidst injuries, player dissatisfaction, and ownership upheaval, the Suns have persevered to the tune of a potential 7th seed, but that position feels fragile for a team sitting in the position with a record solidly at .500, and as many as six other teams on their heels, all separated by just a game or two.
The San Antonio Spurs on the other hand, feel like they’re doing their best (whether that’s their best to hang onto a bottom-five record depends on who you ask) in the face of much steeper odds (like, say, 14%) and a season of relative misery.
Having skidded their way into another four game losing streak, it’s fair to wonder which team feels like it has more on the line. On the one hand, this is the kind of game the Suns need to win. On the other hand, this feels like the kind of game that the Spurs need to both win (for morale-type reasons) and lose (for roulette-type reasons).
And while it might seem superfluous to talk about the statistical differences between the teams, even I was surprised to find that the Spurs rank just above the typically lethal Suns in scoring per game, field goals made, offensive rebounding, and 2nd chance points, pointing to a potential (though slender) advantage on the glass for the Silver and Black.
It’s the defense (30th) and net rating (30th) that are bound to raise their ugly heads though, in a contest with the still above average defense that the Suns are currently sporting (10th in defensive rating).
Still, there’s a silver of a chance for this Spurs team if they can make the most of their opportunities and capitalize on the the injuries and discord of their opponent. At the very least it’ll be interesting to see if pride or probabilities take the precedence in this one.
January 28th, 2023 | 7:00 PM CT
Watch: KENS5| Listen: WOAI (1200 AM)
Spurs Injuries: Devin Vassell - Out (Knee), Jeremy Sochan - Questionable (Quad), Josh Richardson - Questionable (Knee), Romeo Langford - Questionable (Hip)
Suns Injuries: Jae Crowder - Out (Personal Reasons), Cameron Payne - Out (Foot), Devin Booker - Out (Groin), Landry Shamet - Out (Foot)
For the Suns’ fans’ perspective, visit Bright Side Of The Sun.
PtR’s Game thread will be up this evening for those who want to chat through the game. You can also follow along with the action through PtR’s Twitter feed.